UPDATED 6:29 pm, Fri Dec 13, 2013. COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WAAY) – Authorities have charged a woman with animal cruelty after finding 4 dead dogs outside her home and more than 120 dogs on her property earlier this week.
Debra Jane Catledge, 53, is charged with 15 counts of second-degree dog cruelty. Catledge was released from the Colbert County Jail on a $750 cash bond. She could face a year in jail on each misdemeanor count or a fine.
Earlier this week, animal control officers rescued a total of 122 Yorkies and Pomeranians from Catledge’s home on Highway 72 in Barton. Authorities said the dogs were in wire cages out in the freezing weather. They also found 2 dead dogs.
On Thursday, the Colbert County Sheriff’s office executed a search warrant at Catledge’s home and found 2 more dead dogs, 6 live dogs, and illegal moonshine in a barn.
Sheriff Ronnie May said Catledge told investigators she took numerous other dogs out of state but will not say where.
“We’re in the process of locating her residence out of state and another family residence out of state to see if the additional dogs that she had are at those locations” said May,
May said more charges are expected in the next week for the moonshine found on the property.
by Rachel Keith
Investigators rescue 122 dogs from alleged Colbert County puppy mill
COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WAAY) – On Tuesday, Colbert County Animal Control officers and the sheriff‘s department seized 122 Yorkies and Pomeranians found outside a home on Hwy 72 in the Barton community.
Colbert County Animal Control Director Judie Nichols said her office received a tip from a concerned citizen that the small dogs were being kept outside in the cold.
Animal control officers responded to the complaint around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday and found two dead dogs frozen to their wire cages. Investigators spent several hours at the home taking pictures of all the animals that also included 2 exotic birds.
The dogs were housed in wire cages 3 to 4 feet off the ground. Nichols said the dogs were in good condition as a whole but the biggest concern was their exposure to the freezing temperatures.
“They were wet some of them and they had ice on their fur” said Nichols. “They were just very cold, huddled up, just cold.”
The shelter is now over capacity with more than 200 animals after taking in the dogs and more are expected since over 25 are pregnant.
“The owner was overwhelmed” said Nichols. “I think she went way overboard. She had way more than she could care for. It’s obvious she was breeding them.”
Staff and volunteers are busy grooming and performing medical evaluations on all the dogs which could take a few days. Nichols said they are also scanning each dog for a microchip to make sure none were stolen.
The shelter is not accepting any animals from the public until they can start adopting out the animals but are still responding to animal control calls.
“If they find a stray, we would like to ask for their patience and their understanding” said Nichols.
Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May said the district attorney is waiting for all the dogs to be evaluated before deciding if animal cruelty charges will be filled against the owner. No charges have been filled at this time.
It could be several days before the dogs are available for adoption. The birds were signed over by the owner and have been adopted.
Investigators said other animals including horses were found on the property but appeared to be well cared for.